Renys opens next week on Congress Street in Portland

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PORTLAND — A “Maine adventure” joins the downtown retail mix next week.

Renys will open at 540 Congress St. on April 14. The department store offers everything from packaged foods to hardware to housewares to clothing.

“They sell everything,” said Jan Beitzer, executive director of the Portland Downtown District. She said the long-running joke that you can’t buy local and buy underwear is finally coming to an end.

Renys is going into the space formerly occupied by L.L. Bean and Olympia Sports. The space has been renovated and will have entrances on Free Street and Congress Street.

“It’s really exciting to have them moving in,” Beitzer said. “It is a large space, that will be lit up and open seven days a week on Congress Street.”

This is R.H. Reny’s 15th store. The Newcastle-based business, which calls itself “a Maine adventure,” is family owned. Spokeswoman Faustine Reny said the Portland store is different because it is in a very urban environment.

“We like the downtown thing,” she said. “We don’t like to build buildings.”

“Portland has always been on the radar,” Reny said. “This worked out to be the right location.”

Reny added that the company was approached 10 years ago to rent the space at 540 Congress St., but the timing was not right.

The 25,000-square-foot Portland store will employ about 50 full- and part-time workers.

Mayor Nick Mavodones, who will speak at the opening of the store along with Renys President John Reny, said having the company open in Portland says a lot about how the vibrancy of the city’s downtown.

“Renys made the decision to come here,” Mavodones said. “It’s a perfect fit. It’s convenient for residents and its a destination for visitors.”

Store hours will be Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Reny said the store will stay open until 8 p.m. on First Friday Art Walk nights.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @katebucklin.

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